Biante Touring Car Masters: Miedecke takes stunning win on debut
Former V8 Supercar driver Andrew Miedecke put his competitors on notice taking a stunning win on debut in round one of the Touring Car Masters presented by Autobarn at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide (SA), this weekend.
Porsche pilot Bernie Stack charged through the weekend to rack up a perfect score from three races and seal victory in Group 2, while Phillip Showers in his Ford Escort enjoyed his first win in the category, taking out the Group 3 win.
In a drama-filled start to the 2010 season, two-time Bathurst winner John Bowe ploughed his newly-purchased Ford Mustang into the wall, overshooting the turn into the hairpin and causing significant damage to his front left corner on only his fifth lap in the opening practice session.
Bowe redeemed himself in qualifying as he put his battle-scarred Mustang on pole with Gavin Bullas’ Rain City Mustang a mere 0.3935s behind. Reigning 2009 Group 2 champion Trevor Talbot was the fastest qualifier in his class, while Tony Karanfilovski posted the quickest lap time for Group 3.
As the flag dropped for the opening race of the season, a fierce battle erupted at the front of the field with Bowe and Bullas repeatedly trading blows for the lead, with the wily Jim Richards in the Shannons Falcon Sprint close behind waiting to pounce in third.
Stack was through on Talbot on lap one and was never troubled for the Group 2 lead throughout the remainder of the nine-lap race – ultimately going on to finish an impressive eighth outright for the race.
On lap five, the Adelaide streets’ concrete barriers claimed their first race casualty with the Treloar Roses Charger of Garry Treloar into the wall.
Smoke from Bowe’s Mustang on the following lap signalled trouble as he quickly slipped back through the field to 17th as a result of a power steering failure.
Richards was quick to close in on Bullas and pressured him all the way to the chequered flag, but was unable to get past. Bullas crossed the line first ahead of Richards with Brad Tilley’s Falcon XY GT narrowly holding the #95 Camaro of Miedecke.
Further down the field, Karanfilovski in the #88 TIFS Warehousing Alfa Romeo dominated the Group 3 battle from start to finish.
The reverse-top-eight grid for race two put Stack’s Gawler Body Works Porsche on pole alongside the Dukes Body Works Camaro of Alastair MacLean. Leading the field, Stack was quickly swallowed up by the larger Group 1 machines in hot pursuit.
Touring Car Masters debutant Miedecke hustled the WesTrac Cat Camaro to the front of the field for the first time and stretched out a strong lead.
Starting from well down the order in 17th, Bowe made a scintillating comeback, barging his way through the field.
Making contact along the way, notably with Bullas, Bowe’s charge was not without incident. Finally getting past the very wide Tilleys Automotive Falcon for second place on lap eight, set out after his former V8 Supercar sparring partner Miedecke, but the WesTrac Cat Mustang was no match for the WesTrac Cat Camaro.
Carving through lapped traffic, Miedecke took the chequered flag and his first Touring Car Masters race win with Bowe and Richards trailing.
Again, both Stack and Karanfilovski topped the respective Group 2 and 3 results, to head into the final race with a perfect score card.
As the lights went green for the start of the third and final race, it was a drag race between Richards and Miedecke to turn one. While Richards made a slightly better start, Miedecke was right alongside and had the line into turn one, giving the series newcomer the lead once again.
Needing only to finish race three to secure the round victory, it was heartbreak for Karanfilovski as his Alfa GTAM was sidelined before the end of the first lap.
Breaking away from the pack, the race at the head of the field intensified with the top four running nose to tail as Miedecke led from Richards, Bullas and Bowe.
On a mission in his battered and beaten Mustang, Bowe dived past Bullas. Trying to run with Bowe, Bullas held his ground alongside the renowned #18, but quickly ran out of track as Bowe held his line and the Clipsal walls loomed. The reigning champ was forced to yield and slotted into fourth.
As Bowe and Bullas fought amongst themselves, they gave a touch of breathing room to Richards who was working away at the back of Miedecke’s Camaro, looking for a way past.
Miedecke, however, was faultless and again led the field to the chequered flag.
Taking the round win ahead of Richards and Bullas, Miedecke now leads the overall championship standings.
Woes continued for reigning Group 2 champ, Talbot as he pulled into the pits on lap four, prematurely ending his race weekend and making for a difficult title defence this season.
In a thrilling performance, Stack out powered and out lasted many of the Group 1 cars to finish in eighth outright for round, winning the Group 2 class and walking away with a maximum haul of 180 points.
Graeme Cook in the Racemoves/Buik Motorworks Porsche 911 RS withstood a battering from the McAlister Ford Mustang to finish the weekend second in Group 2, with Ian McAlister rounding out the top three.
Dicing with the Ocean Seafoods Falcon XY GTHO of George Nittis and the Steve Mason Datsun 510 of Jason Humble, Phillip Showers slipped past Humble to secure the Group 3 win by one place.
Standing in for regular series runner, Cameron Mason, Humble secured second place in the Group 3 standings ahead of Karanfilovski.
The Touring Car Masters presented by Autobarn will resume with round two at Winton Raceway (VIC) on 14-16 May.
Video: Is from the 2009 Clipsal 500 event, but just listen to that thing!